Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chicken on the cheap

So if you're cheap like I am but you want to eat right how can you shave a few pennies and still eat good? Time to put on your cut glove and saddle up cuz we're gonna do some butchering!! yea!!

I'm not going to get the soapbox out about chickens tonight, some Paleo'rs don't touch the bird, some only the white meat. I've got no fight with you now, go do some Kiping pull-ups. All my life chicken has come to my house from Kroger's meat area and life was good, buy it cook it, eat it. Then the damn internet made me open my eyes to the horrors of a few/lot? of un-caring chicken ranchers who raise their birds in unhealthy conditions and unhealthy food, which is then passed on to us. Oh to be blissfully ignorant again, but alas it aint gonna happen. You won't see me posting grainy hat cam videos of dread head recon on this site but I have joined the serious group of Paleo and animal conscious group known as MEETA (meat eaters for the ethical treatment of animals). I like the way are ancestors felt about the animals they killed for food, whether it was the man on beast battle, or the feeding and caring for the life giving beast he put to death with respect so that he and his family could live another winter. CAFO's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentrated_Animal_Feeding_Operations are a part of our lives and we let em happen, and we can reverse the trend and still feed the "world", but it will take educating the populace and probably overthrowing the government to do it. So you get on that, I'm cutting up a chicken.
We have a great farm outside of town which provides pastured chickens, you can go visit your dinner anytime you want, the people are so nice and they do the dirty work so you don't have to, the chicken tastes better, has no plumping or chemicals added, and I feel better about myself even though I'm paying more at the pump..
Back to the cheap part,, pay more for fresh chicken, save by buying whole,, learn to cut up,, that's where I come in.

Okay first point of business bring in the bird and let him know who's boss, inform bird this could be him if he doesn't stop his afternoon squawkfest.

* A quick note here, I have never used a cut glove, if you used a cut glove (and you couldn't because they didn't sell them) in the kitchen when I started cooking you would be ceremoniously beaten and thrown to the street, but now I'm the friggin safety champion of my district and NO one picks up a knife without a glove, and if you don't know how to use a knife it might save you some stitches http://www.webstaurantstore.com/3073/cut-resistant-gloves.html

Okay invert the bird and place the knife to the right of the tail bone, a quick chop and stroke and the knife will run down the right side of the spine like nobody's business

Now hold the leg and repeat the cut down the other side of the spine,, remember this is a single slice, one motion down through,,

The backbone is now out, you can use this for an awesome stock or arrowroot gravy, but I'll show you what I do with it in a minute, You can now see the breast bone and reach it easily, spin the bird round and cut through the center and your bird is in halves.

You can now feel the open area between the breast and thigh, mainly skin holds it together, slice the two apart.

The cartilage between the leg and thigh is your next cut, you can feel it from the "knee" area, if you hit it dead center it will slice right through. If not,, well you missed it

Last but not least pull the wing away from the breast and cut while pulling lightly and you'll slice right through it

Alrighty you've done both halves and the hard part is over, do with it what you will but make me proud..

Oh yeah the backbone,, Bailey gets that to keep her teeth nice and shiny,,

Monday, July 30, 2012

BBQ fish?

I'll BBQ anything... I mean I love to grill, I love the flavor and the taste of anything BBQ. Probably had the best time eating in Austin, Tx. and I ran an Italian restaurant there. Whenever I got the chance I headed to the smokiest hole-in-the-wall I could find to get some meat, and I really miss that here in Dayton. Easy there Cincy, you've got some good pig too, I just could never find better than Austin so deal with it. So fish you say? WTF are you doing man?! Sacrilege! Nah, just tasty fish served up a little different and definetly Paleo
So I started off tonight backwards and prepped up my vegetables from a stolen recipe from the incredibly talented Nom Nom Paleo http://www.facebook.com/nomnompaleo. Live a day on this dynamo's blog and you'll wonder how she does it. She posted some Zuchinni style noodles and I loved it so I prepped up what we have coming out of the garden with some red onion and fresh cherry tomatoes(we are on the edge of way too many cherry tomatoes).

This will require a special tool (Amy's nickname for me as well), I have a Mandoline, which will set you back over a C note, but there are several low cost versions that do the same thing you can find at a specialty store.

The trick here is to only go as deep a cut as to stay out of the seeds in the center,, seeds bad.  Then slice the onion as thin as you can, the idea is to flash cook it translucent and add the noodles, sauce (that's the leftover marinade below) and tomatoes, and it's done. Pull it from the stove and plate it.

Now the fish,, I love cod because like me, it's cheap, I've lived in Fla., and the Virgin Islands so I'm spoiled, but I get this from a local source here and it does the trick,, damn I miss fresh fish boats..
 Okay, so grab a bowl and drop a tablespoon of honey, juice an orange (not OJ crap!), half a lemon and 2 oz of olive oil. That's the basics, then I do my standard S&P, mesquite, herb mix (chopped from garden) and whatever you like (see freak flag fly from other post).

Okay, I know I'm gonna tick you off cause I'm not posting exact recipes but as I explained earlier I cook by taste and not by numbers, and I've been doing that for too long,,,, but I'll start dammit.

Paleo BBQ
1 6oz can organic tomato paste
2 oz, apple cider vinegar
2 oz honey
3oz water
2 cloves garlic
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp Dijon mustard

Fire up that Grill! Yes a wood burner or a charchol are better, but my Weber rocks and it's 500 in 5 mins., this is a tender fish and will rip up but the marinate will help navigate a flip and that's all you need. Flip sauce and shut down, the Cod will be done quickly, a Mahi will need a little more time.


Wow, it's dinner time, plate up those vegies and top with the fish, enjoy that baby knowing you've done a body good! Save that BBQ sauce for Chicken and Beef later in the week cause you know you love BBQ!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Sunday

I just had a great dinner and my lazy ass did not take 1 wonderful shot of it,, kill me now before I do it again! Relax, grilled some steak out on the patio, roasted some Sweet taters, and a big ass salad so you didn't miss much. I'll get busy tomorrow.
What I did feel the need to tippy type about is you guys,, how ya doin? I've had some heart to heart talks with friends over this whole posting thing and some of you are down a bit and that sucks. Yesterday I blogged about bootstraps and all that and it's all good but sometimes it's hard to get a good grip and pull.
So I wanted to post a vid by Mark Sisson (sure I like him, he's a smart dude and Amy thinks he's hot), but to the point he's really hit the nail on the head with this one. Remember that Paleo isn't a diet or a gym, it's re-connecting ourselves with all those little tiny bits of what we used to be and prioritizing it back into our lives to make us happy, then all the good things follow. Enough of my drivel here's the video,, and a nice website to keep you busy,,, back to food tomorrow.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crash time

Well I've been a busy beaver the last couple of days as my 15 minutes of fame have come and gone in my Paleo world, Mark's daily Apple http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-aha-moment-when-clarity-happens-and-real-change-begins/#axzz21xovvcL1 posted Amy and I's tell all about the up's and down's of our life and how we got to where we are today. Gratifying yes, frighting, a little, demeaning, a lot. Wonderful people said wonderful things to us, and we got a chance to say things to people like us struggling with weight loss, children with Autism and just getting started in the first place. At the end of the day I lay tucked in bed thinking what a great thing we did and how this experience will cement us in this awesome cult (I call it that occasionally) that grows bigger everyday. But let's get back to that demeaning part....

Holy shit, you looked like that!?? WTF dude, what happened to you,, why did you let that happen?
I don't know. I wrote about it, I explained it to myself and put it on paper, I changed myself to the 'after' pic, but how did I let that happen to myself. I put a pic of myself in the worst shape of my life up for all the world to see, and that was a tough Matza ball to put out there.

I guess we all need a reset at some point, I had a bad accident in '95', I was out of work for 14 months, had to make my leg work again. I didn't want to go back to work, thought about fighting for permanent disability, hang around the house for the rest of my life and feel sorry for myself cause some stupid idiot pulled out in front of me. Buuut, I pulled up my big boy pants and bought a dog, started walking, and when the checks stopped I went back to work.  Reset.

Fat guy. Reset.

I don't know when my next opportunity to fail will come or how it will manifest itself but if there's one thing I'm learning is take it as a lesson, make the frig-gin change and move on cause fat or broken is nothing compared to what alot of people go through everyday. First world problems, that's really what we're talking about here, so I'm climbing off my soapbox (love m' soapbox) and I'll be done with this little chunk of therapy and move on down the blog..... but that pic will always be there, not gonna let that happen again..

Alrighty how bout a pic before we put this little bit of depression away?

We have an event in August this is the salad I put together for it:

Mesculin greens, and micro greens with Herb roasted tomatoes , fresh mozzerella, chopped calamata and green olive, and a Gazpacho shooter, tasted quite good

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Let's Cheat!

Okay, time to discuss a biggie in Paleo circles, cheating. Weather you're 80/20, strict, Primal, or Paleo the big discussions always come up about cheats, do you do it all? How much? What puts you over the edge? For me it's Saturday morning cinnamon rolls for my kids, they still eat SAD (standard American diet) foods on occasion and this Saturday institution goes on to the protest of my stomach every week, and it's not even the damn rolls that get me it's the smell of wafting cinnamon. So the good folks at Paleo on Main http://paleoonmain.blogspot.com/2011/08/cinnamon-pecan-coffee-cake.html provided us with a great cheat to get us through our weekend sweet attacks. Now this recipe is Paleo but so many factions would cry foul at the thought of ingesting "sweet" or "fringe" ingredients that many would still call it a cheat. We say if it only gets eaten on occasion (we don't make this every weekend, although we could easily), don't sweat the small stuff.
Which brings me to today's dinner selection, Pizza. Pizza is probably in the top 10 first questions I get asked when I first launch into a conversation on Paleo:

Me: ..and the health benefits alone are enough to make it worth th..
Them: You mean you don't get to eat ANY pasta or bread?!
Me: Well no, but you'd be surprised at how easy it is, most people come away saying how mu..
Them: Wow no pasta,,, or Pizza! Oh man I couldn't do that no way!

So the fact is we do eat pizza, once a month and I make it from scratch with a package mix.... suddenly I just felt a disturbance in the force! As if thousands of Paleo voices just cried out,, NOOOOO! No packages! No mixes! No artificial substitutes!

Whateves, the mix is clean and everything you add to the dry mix is Paleo, give or take the dairy depending on where you lean. Amy is lactose close to intolerant so this is a double bad for us, our cheat, but really not bad in the grand scheme of,,, don't judge!!

Okay, so there are alot of ways to make pizza out there, cauliflower, cheese etc., but we started using Chebe pizza mix when we got off the whole 30 and it really did the trick for our pizza "jones". The problem is we liked it so well we started eating it every week, and along with the coffee cake our weight loss stopped and began to creep upward, so we rationed ourselves to once a month for the pizza and when the mood hits for the cake and everything smoothed out again.

So, start with the mix in a good size bowl, add your eggs, oil, and cheese, we use a softer Parmesan, or a Gruyere, this will effect how soft or hard the dough is.

It gives you the option to add whatever oil you want, as well as water or milk, we use olive oil and raw milk

Set aside the 1/4 cup milk and mash that bad boy up, drizzle in the milk and knead the dough up till it forms a nice doughball, about the size of a softball. Here is your only opportunity to adjust the firmness of the dough, but we've found the recipe is spot on for our needs.

Next I hope you have a pizza pan and a rolling pin,, No? How's life in college treat'n ya? Go ask your mom for some cash and score a pan and pin,, I'll wait... Okay, ball in center and slow roll the dough to the desired thickness, it'll do a 14 in. with plenty to spare.

Next is the sauce, and I make my own but there are some good clean organic sauces out there you can use and shave off some production time, I just prefer to make my own. I use an organic paste, some fresh garlic, and herbs. No, google pizza sauce recipe.

Is your oven on 425? Do it now, cause we're fixin to warm this puppy up. Lightly sauce the pie, too much and it'll be a sloppy mess, 6 oz. is plenty. I've seen alot of people go way overboard here.
I use a hard mozzarella for my topping and I like a cheesy pizza, but this is all about you now, Domino's has no clue how much you like, they just put on what you tell em, so let yer freak flag fly and put on whatever you like, or what you have in the fridge. Our pie has Nathan's hot dogs my son won't eat and a leftover hamburger from yesterday. Apply toppings and throw into oven, wait impatiently for 14 minutes and then try not to dig into it before it cools.

You have now cheated, and yet stayed Paleo, aren't you proud of yourself? I am. Enjoy, you deserve it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Well that was embarrassing,, apparently this Blog stuff has a learning curve,,,
So tonight's lesson is ,, drum roll,,Mise en place!!! The french "everything in place" is the cornerstone for success to every aspiring chef or Paleo newbie who wants to succeed at cooking. Ya see one of the biggest Fails I hear is "i don't have time to cook" or insert any lame ass excuse to spending a little, and I do mean little time in the best room in your house (next to the bedroom). Truth is 30 minutes start to finish is all you need to whip up some fine grub and you know damn well you spend that on Facebook,, easy. So prep is everything,, it's the time taker and the thinking part of dinner, the rest is execution and clean-up,,, you aren't cleaning up are you? Sux to be you if you are,, who am I kidding, I do the dishes. I'm OCD that way.

Clean board, check, sharp knife, check, 30 minutes, check. Okay hopefully you've already been to Mark's Daily Apple and downloaded a Paleo shopping list, run out to your nearest Cool Food Place and picked up some yummy vegies and meats. I know, there's a lot more to talk about there but for dinner's sake let's say ya did.

The sausage above came from Trader Joe's and is a wonderful garlic and spinach mix my wife loves, and food is about love and making what your wife loves so get with the program. Right to left: beans, peppers(colorful if you can), julienne zucchini and squash, green onion, tomato, and spaghetti squash. Now the spag squash is optional here, it takes 45 mins in the oven and can be a garnish or side dish, but if you made some last night as spaghetti you already had it and you're good to go.
Next, cast iron skillet, your favorite GOOD oil, Mark says olive is okay if you don't overheat, tallow, butter (grass fed), coconut. Heat and cook up the beans, drop in the peppers, squash and onions, add the sausage, and,, oh shit, forgot about the seasonings! See, Mise en Place,, I coulda burned it all up running to the garden for Thai basil dammit. Seasonings are your choice and I won't dictate that, S&P, garlic and italian seasonings are always safe, you get yer freak on from there, but easy cowboy, the deeper you get into Paleo the more you taste everything, so less is better.

Let those tomatoes reduce a bit then shut er down. Damn that was easy! Now we're at 20 minutes and it's time for stuffing Le pie hole,,, zap the spag squash in the microwave or dirty a pan sauteing it up, beverage and eat, now that wasn't so hard was it pumpkin?

Hells no, it was easy! Let's do it again tomorrow, shall we?

So here's the thing,, I'm Paleo all the time, and I'm hungry all the time so food seems to take on a good portion of my day. But as I grow older and I sit here in a cubicle stealing time from my company writing this I listen to the world around me and realize that it's pretty much everyone's priority. And I know that food is social as well as nutritional but it's amazing how much food is talked about around here. Did I mention I'm in the food service industry?
I began my culinary career at 17 years old and I've been doing it all my life, I started as a dishwasher and realized I had a knack for the production end which grew to a college education, oversees cooking experience and capped off by cooking for not 1, not 2, but 3 of our presidents. I've cooked for a host of government officials (not proud of), and a host of celebrities (the only one I was proud of was Ladybird Johnson), so I think I have a soapbox to stand on.
I can cook dammit! I mean I can slurp a sauce and tell you what it needs. I can whip up a dry rub that'l make your BBQ a hit on the cul-de-sac. I can sit and design menus all day and they will be tasty, different, and look great. But I hate, I loathe, I despise doing ingredient sheets, and that has probably kept me from being more successful as a chef my entire career. That being said I am really happy where I'm at right now, calling the shots for a conference center as the front man in the tie, having a chef working under me who puts my recipes to work and dazzles our clients who expect cardboard chicken with packet sauce, and get really damn good food. Now I can jump in the kitchen and play when I want to. So my plan is simple, to show off my food and talent and feel good about myself, and throw a chunk of my mind on the screen when I feel like it (you know, the soapbox) so if you stumble on this blog you might find a friend to agree with, or an asshat you love to hate, don't care cuz I'm all full up on friends. I'll be posting the Paleo dinner "creations" for the most part, just my nightly venture into the fridge to utilize what my lovely bride has brought home from Trader Joe's or Kroger mktplace. I will be glad to tell you how I made it but you're on your own for the specifics, pull up yer big boy pants and experiment, yours might taste better than mine, but I doubt it :)

I also plan on posting my event photos, when I go all out and put out galas and fundraisers so enjoy those as well, your welcome.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 1, what fun! And so begins my culinary journey around food, health, and family. Blah blah blah,, me, me me, so here we go....